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Graduate Writing and Research Center expands student services

From staff reports | Aug 26, 2014

The Graduate Writing and Research Center is expanding its services for Ohio University students this year.

The center launched in January 2013 as a pilot project of the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery and the University College. Tutors and subject librarians offer research and writing help to graduate and undergraduate students working on class papers, theses and dissertations, journal articles and school and job application materials.

The project was so successful that the university provided a permanent operating budget for the center, which now is part of the Graduate College. It continues to be located in Alden Library, in room 301J.

"I'm pleased that the Graduate College can provide continued support to a program that has been shown to benefit student academic careers. I encourage our students to take advantage of the workshops, writing groups and tutoring services that can enhance their research and writing skills," said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College.

The Graduate Writing and Research Center is different from other university programs because it offers tutoring in topics such as methodology and statistics, as well as development and organization.

"Our philosophy is that the research is part of the writing, and you can't separate it out very easily," said Talinn Phillips, the center director and an assistant professor of English.

The partnership with subject librarians also is unique, Phillips said, as it offers students a chance to work with someone who has expertise in their particular disciplines.

The center has five to seven tutors working with students at any given time. Phillips would like to hire more and ideally offer at least one tutor affiliated with each academic college.

Tutors have worked with students on issues such as developing a paper or journal article, refining a thesis or dissertation or revising applications for law school, said Craig Meyer, who served as director of the center last school year.

"Some are in the early planning stages and need someone to help them think through ideas; others come to the GWRC for assistance after a draft is written, when tutors help them with revision and organization," he said.

One program that Phillips would like to expand in the upcoming school year is the writing groups. The Graduate Writing and Research Center offers opportunities for students to form ongoing support networks for developing theses and dissertations.

"You can have a group of people following what you are doing, which is helpful for moral support," Phillips said. "These people are invested in your project, helping you through the rough patches."

Students can be so overwhelmed by the work required to research and write a dissertation that they may feel that they don't have time to participate in a writing group, she noted.

"But it really gives you ideas about how to manage the more challenging aspects of your dissertation, and it helps motivate you because you see how other people are moving ahead with their work," she said.

In addition, the center plans to expand its workshop offerings. Past topics have included statistical programs, qualitative analysis software, literature reviews and developing a CV and job search materials.

For more information about tutor sessions, writing groups, workshops and other resources, please visit the Graduate Writing and Research Center on the web at www.ohio.edu/graduate/gwrc.

For more information about becoming a tutor, please contact the center at gwrc@ohio.edu.